I mentioned this sale in my previous post where I described how to embed a YouTube video into your eBay listing.
The item I sold was a vintage surf rock 45 Record – The Cre-Shells – Dracula.
Be forewarned, I am going to
whine learn a good lesson. I left a lot of money on the table, and I hope that you’ll avoid my mistake! Still, the sale was my highest profit yet on eBay.
Try to buy in volume
As I’m wont to do while I’m out garage saling or thrifting, I put together a bunch of smaller items (~60 records and some cool bar ware) and asked if they could cut me a deal. Sometimes it works (like when I bought my Fashion Bug Plus Jeans), and sometimes it doesn’t. It never hurts to try – you don’t have anything to lose!
This lady was a shrewd negotiator, but after some haggling, I got the lot for $25. I figured I could sell the bar stuff for ~$50 so this was a great deal. A few of the records did catch my eye, so I was keen on getting them too.
Don’t miss the diamond in the rough
Once I got home, I went straight to researching. Conveniently, the baby went down for a nap at the same time. Ahhh, timing is everything
Record by record, it was looking more and more like a flop. The most I saw any of my records going for were ~$20… and these were few and far between. Then, there was this one record that I couldn’t even find on eBay. Let’s just put that to the side for now until I’m done.
Well, I finished and still nothing great. Just a handful of (5-10) records for mostly $15 including free shipping. Yuck. Not what I was hoping for, but this was my first time dealing with records like this.
After looking at the handful of records that might sell on eBay and the box of ones that wouldn’t go for anything, I decided to go back to that mystery record. I did another eBay search and found nothing again. I *ALMOST* put it in the donate pile. Then I happened to turn it over and look at the back. There I noticed the title on that side of the record – “Dracula”. That made me pause.
Google is your friend
With a quick Google search of “Cre-Shells Dracula Murecord” (ignoring my awesome YouTube video), Popsike is the first result. This site gave me a TON of information!
First, the record has some value. It sold for almost $300 in 2005! Now, that’s before the economy took a crap, so maybe it’s not worth as much. I plugged in the record title into PopsIkes’ search bar and found more!
The nice part about the Popsike website is that it contains the description from the original eBay listings. People generally pay WorthPoint a lot of money to have this service, and I happened to find a website that does it for free in the niche I’m researching. Score!
And uhoh, there’s two recent sales in the $70-80 range. Oh well, what can you do? That’s still a pretty decent profit.
But as I read through the details in these listings, I started to get excited again. The ones that sold in that $70-80 range were either severely warped or had some hissing due to scratching. My record was in near flawless condition. It played perfectly (this is the most important part of record grading, but there’s a lot that actually goes into it, as noted here).
Surf Rock is popular?
When I think of Surf Rock, I’m thinking of the Beach Boys. From my research on Popsike, I was able to glean that this record was special, and used a lot of the information from their website in my own listing (please ignore the misspelling of “instrumental”).
Ultra rare surf instrumenta; Made in Pennsylvania. Highlighted in John Blair’s Surf Guide as an important, outstanding release!
Who knew? Apparently this sweet little old lady had a gem buried in her record pile. I almost threw out this record, but instead, I did my due diligence. I actually looked through each record and dug deeper when I couldn’t find anything on it at first. The tedious work paid off! I’d say a good rule of thumb is that if you can’t find it at all on eBay, it’s probably rare…. or just really worthless…. It’s at least worth a 2nd look with a Google search.
- Purchase price – $25 (for the lot)
- End Selling Price – $208.07
- Fees and Shipping/Handling – $28.92
Total Profit: $154.15
WOW! Now I only need to do that once a week, and I’d be thrilled.
Now, since this was my biggest sale so far, I’ll get to teach you the biggest lesson I’ve learned…
eBay Auctions are just like gambling – you’re going to lose in the long run!
Imagine that you are the gambler sucked in at the casino and the eBay buyers are the house. Really now, hear me out.
A lot of buyers take advantage of auctions and their low prices. Here’s a podcast over at Scavenger Life with a guy who buys rare coins from eBay auctions and then re-sells them as Buy It Now – all on eBay!
eBay got started with auctions only, so people think they still need to use that as the mode of delivery. We all imagine that there’s going to be a bidding war, but these are actually few and far between.
Auctions on eBay are good for ONE thing. Moving inventory. That’s it. If you don’t want to sit on a lot of stuff in your storage area, auctions are for you. But that’s about it.
EDIT: I say below that Auctions are only good for one thing. This isn’t exactly true. They’re also helpful for testing the waters on a new category of items or just to get started on eBay. Thanks to Rebecca @ Stapler Confessions for reminding me of this!
For those of us who would like to make a little more profit (slow quarter vs. fast nickel), Buy It Now is the way to go. This lets your item get seen by many more buyers, and you can add in that “best offer” option to entice people. Auctions are only there for a week. On top of that, you are basically saying, “Well, here’s the lowest price I would go, but really, I want more.” You would never do that when haggling. Nope, instead if you have to throw out a number, you start with your HIGHEST.
SO how much did i leave on the table with my surf rock record? Probably about $100. There were a few records between 2005 and now that all sold for $290. If I could do it all over again, I’d probably set the listing up as a Buy It Now at $350 with an auto accept of $299.99.
I hope you only use the auction option to sell quickly, as I will from now on. Oh, and keep an eye out for some vintage surf rock! Who knew?